Friday, July 13, 2007

Heads-up position

I haven't played much poker since the victory on Monday. It's as if I don't want to spoil the victory, in a way. But last night I did sit down to a $20 heads-up match at FTP. I won it in 3 hands. I managed to catch on the other two hands and that allowed me to appear to be quite aggressive to my opponent, which probably had a lot to do with the outcome, but in any event, the last hand was a great lesson in heads-up position.

When you're heads-up, the button is the small blind and acts first before the flop, and last after. That little change-up is something quite special in heads-up play.

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $20 + $1 Heads Up Sit & Go (_), Table 1 - 10/20 - No Limit Hold'em - 20:19:53 ET - 2007/07/12
Seat 1: victim (1,320)
Seat 2: hero (1,680)
hero posts the small blind of 10
victim posts the big blind of 20
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Td Ad]
hero raises to 60
victim raises to 120

So he has indicated that he has something. A re-raise normally would tell me that it's a big pocket pair, but heads-up it could be any pair or even a big ace. The minimum raise is often a monster hand tell, but before the flop it's not all that meaningful, particularly heads-up. As we'll see shortly, all he did was make it really cheap for me to call. He saw that I was an aggressive player the other two hands. He might have pressed here to try and take the play away from me. But no.

hero calls 60
*** FLOP *** [2s 3c Ts]
victim bets 200

Here's where position comes in. If we were out of position, I would have made this bet and he would have had to evaluate whether or not I was full of crap. He might have just called a bet given what his hand is.

As for me, I've flopped top pair with an ace. I am only beat by a pocket set or a bigger pair. If he has one of those, so be it.

hero raises to 1,560, and is all in
victim calls 1,000, and is all in
hero shows [Td Ad]
victim shows [9c 9h]

That was a bad call. I raised before the flop and called a re-raise. What hand could he have put me on that 9s would beat? A smaller pair (but not 2s or 3s)? There have only been two other hands. Could he really have believed that I made that big a move with nothing?

Uncalled bet of 360 returned to hero
*** TURN *** [2s 3c Ts] [Kd]

See? If he'd have been in position on me and if I had made the continuation bet and he'd have called it, the king would have been a scare card. He could have represented it and probably taken the pot away from me. That's exactly why I went all-in on the flop. I had what was likely the best hand and didn't want to see any more cards.

*** RIVER *** [2s 3c Ts Kd] [3d]
hero shows two pair, Tens and Threes
victim shows two pair, Nines and Threes
hero wins the pot (2,640) with two pair, Tens and Threes
victim stands up
hero stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,640 | Rake 0
Board: [2s 3c Ts Kd 3d]
Seat 1: victim (big blind) showed [9c 9h] and lost with two pair, Nines and Threes
Seat 2: hero (small blind) showed [Td Ad] and won (2,640) with two pair, Tens and Threes

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